Photographs of Chaotic Lives
I have found yet another evidence that London is the centre of the world. This time it is a book of images from Lebanon, curated and brought together by a Pole.
A Lebanese Archive is a collection of images from the personal collection of of Lebanese emigre Diab Alkarssifi. Most of them are anonymous, giving the book a ghostly quality, yet making it a window into lives of others. The others that we may never get to know, but we, in this book, get the chance to see them frozen in a frame.
You might have heard of the famous saying that Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East. It normally refers to the Beirut prior to its many wars since 80s. But this book is not all rosy. Expect bullet holes, ragged mountains, a flashing snowman, a smoking bride, a marching crowd. There is celebration, politics, nature and a lot of beautiful people.
The book doesn’t have a unified theme; it is even chaotic. But that is precisely the strength of it. From Kalashnikovs to seaside dreamers, this is about life in Lebanon. Although you can see traces of eras in some collections, it is timeless. A Lebanese Archive shows a Lebanon that is forgotten, that does not exist. At the same time a Lebanon that is still there and creating new memories.
A Lebanese Archive by Ania Dabrowska is co-published by Book Works and Arab Image Foundation, in an edition of 1,500 copies, with a soft cover. Designed by Kelly Weedon. ISBN 978 1 906012 62 5 – £26.00; www.bookworks.org.uk; www.lebanesearchive.co.uk
This book was made possible with the support of the Polish Cultural Institute, Arts Council England and the generosity of Kickstarter supporters